7 Deadly Zins (2007, Lodi, California)

[4 stars, out of 5]

We tasted this as part of a flight for my sister-in-law's 30th birthday. She's a little new to wine tasting and wasn't a fan, but I thought it was a great buy at $14.99 and an easy drink. Color was deep garnet, with a nose of clove and spices. It had medium-full body and was round and flavorful in my mouth. I thought it tasted like smoke, BBQ, and dark berries; another taster said it tasted like sex. Good with smoked food and BBQ meats. I am a big Zin fan and will probably pick this up again soon.

Bitch Grenache (South Australia, 2008)

[2 stars, out of 5]

I picked this bottle up for a tasting weekend as a gag, because the name was funny and the bottle was cute. I guess you really do get what you pay for. Price: $9.99.

Out of our panel of 5 tasters, only 1 even reached for a glass of this. The color was a gorgeous ruby, very fruity like strawberry jam. It's obviously a young wine, no development to speak of. It had very light body with low tannins and weak flavors of earth and blackberry. The finish was long (5-7 seconds). We all agreed that the wine was flabby and blah, and we wouldn't buy it again.


Geyser Peak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

[3.5 stars out of 5]

Welcome back! After months of neglect, a wedding and the summer, the wine blog is back!

Today's wine is enjoyed with a friend in need - I had three bottles and figured one wouldn't make it through the first round of open complaining so we selected Geyser Peak's 2005 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

The first hint suggests I haven't left the bottle open long enough (in fancy speak, "breath"), but there was no time to waste. A surprisingly light cab sav, I can taste the hints of black cherry the vintner notes. It has a deep and enjoyable finish that lingers in my mouth. The aroma matches the falling leaves outside and has savory flavors that would pair well with an evening by the grill. The wine did become more robust 30 minutes after opening which made it even more enjoyable.

Excellent selection at the right price – this wine is a choice you won't regret making.


Chandon Blanc de Noirs (California, NV)

[4 stars, out of 5]

Of the wedding sparklers we tasted, this one was our favorite. Pale peach in color, the wine had active bubbles and felt fizzy in your mouth – good, like pop rocks used to make you feel in elementary school. In the words of our tasters, it was “yummy.” We tasted flavors of dark cherry, currant, and strawberry, and this was our preferred choice for a second glass. We were not surprised to learn that the blanc de noirs is from pinot noir and petit meunier grapes, both of which we enjoy in non-sparkling wine. On sale at the local grocery store for $14.99 a bottle, this is our choice for the upcoming wedding.

Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut (Columbia Valley, NV)

[3 stars out of 5]

We recently tasted a few sparking wines for our upcoming wedding. This bubbly was a beautiful pale yellow color, like a yellow diamond one of the tasters commented. It was tart in the mouth, with light flavors of apples and grapefruit. The tasting panel commented that this was “not offensive,” but had an odd vinegar smell in the nose that was off putting. The bubbles were tiny and very active, looking great in the glass. We paid $11.98 on sale from $15.99 for this bottle.


Laziness Alert

Oh, dear: it appears that we've been a bit lazy over the Christmas holidays and not been blogging our drinkables. I've got a stack of notes on my desk and will post them to the best of my recollection.

Abadia Retuerta Rivola Sardon de Duero (Spain, 2005)

[2.5 stars, out of 5]

This was a rather ordinary wine that we enjoyed this past weekend with a dinner of homemade pizza. The label noted that the wine was "vino de la terrra de Castilla y Leon," so from the largest region of Spain, located in the Northwest quadrant of the country. Kelly picked up this little bottle at the Wegman's in Gainesville, but I don't recall how much she paid.

The 2005 Rivola is a blend of 60% tempranillo and 40% cabernet sauvignon. The wine was dark, clear red in color, with no discernable nose except a faint woodsy smell. Our three tasters found this wine to be a bit dry, and moderately oaky with blackberry and plum flavors. Overall, we thought it could have more concentrated flavor and perhaps could age a bit more. Still, it was easy to drink and not at all offensive.